Kerry goalkeeper Brendan Kealy says the form of the team’s young players has been the success story of the Kingdom’s league campaign.
The Division 1 table-toppers likely need just one point from their remaining two games to qualify for the semi-finals.
Both games are at home, starting with second from bottom Laois on Sunday.
Their accumulation of eight points has been down to some stunning performances from familiar faces, just as much as the assuredness of the likes of newer faces like Brian McGuire, Peter Crowley, Barry John Keane and Paddy Curtin.
Kealy is thrilled with how the greenhorns have fitted into a team that was as tight as Fort Knox to get into last season.
“It’s great to see it. They’ve come in there and haven’t looked out of place. They have settled in perfectly. It just makes training and everything that much better when everyone is fighting for their place.”
Kealy has kept three clean sheets from five games but believes the Kerry defence, including the likes of McGuire and Crowley, deserve the plaudits.
“Credit the boys in front of me. It’s not like teams are getting an awful lot of shots on us so fair play to them for keeping them out so far.”
That being said, Kealy looked particularly comfortable under the dropping ball in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday, an area which he needed to work on.
After an impressive 2011 season, he admits he’s more comfortable between the sticks. From a goalkeeper’s point of view, there’s always a bit of a settling-in period with the backs. We’ve got to know each other a bit better and things have been going okay.”
Kealy won’t acknowledge a league title is a goal for Kerry; he’s keener to repeat the mantra of taking one game at a time.
However, he agrees a semi-final spot “would be a great start for the year”.
Even though Kerry have won all their away games, the Kilcummin man is content to finish out the league proper in Killarney.
“It’s nice to be playing them at home and get back to Fitzgerald Stadium. There are no more long trips to the north, which is a relief.”
After the hiccup against Armagh in Tralee in their second game, Kealy hopes there are no repeat home reverses.
“We took whatever lessons we needed to take from it and hopefully we’ve learned from it.
“Things seem to be moving in the right direction.”
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